On Being Afraid

New year, new us, what­ev­er.

I’ve not writ­ten much on here the last two years. There are a num­ber of rea­sons for that, but the most impor­tant one is fear. I have faced enor­mous per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al upheaval as a result of my pub­lic writ­ing — even though I would self-describe as hav­ing nev­er real­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in the pol­i­tics of per­son­al destruc­tion so many of my for­mer col­leagues in DC seemed to engage in for sport. In fact, you can see that this top­ic, grap­pling with what real­ly hap­pened to me, and try­ing to work through some of the after­math of it, is a reg­u­lar top­ic on this blog over the last year or so.

For a few months after the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump, I wrote prof­li­gate­ly about what the elec­tion meant, how to under­stand it, and even what warn­ing signs to look for as he con­sol­i­dat­ed pow­er with­in the Repub­li­can Par­ty, to see if there would be resis­tance or acqui­es­cence to his rule-by-id. I’m not going to rehash any of that. But as I real­ized what was real­ly hap­pen­ing, I got afraid, and delet­ed months of writ­ing.

Part of the fear is quite well ground­ed. And the gut-feel­ing that some­thing I write might come back and haunt me or deny my career any for­ward momen­tum still lingers on. I hope that, with time, the fear will also become less­er as well, and I’ll feel more com­fort­able to write a bit more about things, and not have that ter­ror that I’m going to harm myself in the long run.

Oh well. Here’s to a more pro­lif­ic 2019.

Joshua Foust used to be a foreign policy maven. Now he helps organizations communicate strategically and build audiences.